Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

‘Blossom by blossom the spring appears’ – Swinburne

April 21st, 2007

THE SENSE of permanence that comes from walking amongst established, mature trees is a very potent one for me. Knowing that trees have been growing since my great grandfather's time, and often long before, means that what grows on the forest floor is established too.

Scotland, generally, is well wooded and, the monotonous blocks of Forestry Commission conifers notwithstanding, there is still much evidence of our forefathers' foresight and wisdom in planting hardwood and broad leaved trees. These are great places for the dogs and more often than not Macbeth and Inka set the pace for the main walk of the day by taking off down the ride between the tall beeches.

I'm into my fifth year of writing this column and, inevitably I suppose, I'm sometimes mistaken for an expert on countryside matters. They say an expert is “an ordinary man way from home”, but I'm not even that sort of expert yet as I regularly have to call on my growing library of reference books.

My main wild flower book has been Mary McMurtrie's  Scottish Wild Flowers', beautifully illustrated with her own paintings, but I've started using Roger Phillips'  Wild Flowers of Britain' published by Pan Books. It has fine photographs and is laid out month by month which aids quick recognition.

I see wild hyacinths and what I'm told are Spanish hyacinths, and dog violets with their heart-shaped leaves (although whoever named this attractive wee flower had never seen Macbeth crawl from the undergrowth looking like something from the pit). Douce wood anemones in shady places and yellow patches of gorse glittering on brae faces. . Blackthorn and cherry blossom and industrious bumble bees – and the certainty that it's grass cutting time again!

But the big excitement this spring is that I've seen my first green woodpecker. I was hearing the yaffle most mornings, and several days ago one obligingly landed on a branch above my head.

I welcome each season's progress – each has its own appeal and interest and excites my enthusiasm. Lazy days in summer are fun, but I get bored with too much heat, so I'm probably least enthusiastic about that time of year. The Doyenne's blonde complexion means she doesn't care for excessive sunshine either. Gathering Autumn's harvest from the garden and the wild is much more satisfying, and we look forward to those days. And I never complain about going out with the dogs on sharp, crackling winter mornings when the geese are crying overhead in a thin, blue January sky.

But it's the sparkle of green on the emerging leaves, the blues and the yellows, especially, of the wild flowers, the lengthening mornings which make it so pleasurable to rise early and join the dawn chorus – and the sense that there's much more still to come – that makes spring my most special season.